The population of the two regions bases its economy mainly on rice agriculture and livestock. Considered areas with high production potential due to the wealth of natural resources, they are actually among the poorest of the two countries: the poverty index in the Kolda area stands at 68.3% and in Gabu at 69.3%.
The main causes are due to the isolation of the area, due to the almost total absence of asphalted roads and the fragility of the agricultural sector, whose low productivity depends on the lack of productive factors (seeds, fertilizers, tools), inadequate technologies and low technical skills, while improper storage leads to nearly 5% of crop losses. There are almost no conservation and processing units for agro-food products, which would allow on the one hand the regular establishment of cereal reserves and on the other hand an increase in income through the sale of derivative products.
Under these conditions, the employment rate for the age group between 15 and 35 does not exceed 35%. If we add that the experiences of migrants who reached Europe in the 1980s and 1990s have established a shared idea of the positive value of expatriation as a means of social redemption, we understand in these areas the strong tendency towards emigration towards the neighboring countries and towards Europe. A particularly important role in these choices and in supporting travel costs is played by women, because in fact it is women who take care of family needs the most, are called to give immediate answers, and are therefore more inclined to mobilize resources, with the aim of acquiring a social status thanks to the positive effects of migration.
Gabú, Regione di Gabú, Guinea-Bissau
Kolda, Regione di Kolda, Senegal
The project acted on the factors that induce young people to make the risky choice of irregular migration; on the one hand by changing the often erroneous and little aware perception of migration choices and on the other by promoting employment opportunities, which can allow a dignified life in the context of origin and be valid alternatives to departure.
In addition, the project sought to promote female empowerment throughout the action, combining training actions, encouraging mechanisms of representation and participation, and favoring equal access to those training and economic resources that are necessary to make equality between men and women effective.
Neighboring regions of Gabu (Guinea Bissau) and Kolda (Senegal),
3,000 young people belonging to 18 youth associations of the two countries
- Elaboration of an in-depth research on migratory flows. The research, proposed by the ‘Riccardo Massa’ Department of Human Sciences for Education of the University of Milano-Bicocca, made it possible to better understand the territory in view of more lasting interventions against irregular migration to Europe and to involve the beneficiaries in a shared reflection on the subject, stimulating them to bring out the risks and negative aspects of emigration.
- Awareness and information. The aim was to deconstruct the positive myth of migration, which is associated with personal success, well-being and economic wealth, but underestimates or ignores the risk factors related to travel, the economic impact on the family of origin (which promotes the trip), the real reception context in Italy and Europe and the difficulties encountered upon arrival. At the same time, the success stories in the countries of origin, the stories of entrepreneurs and young people who have managed to carry out their projects were valued. For this purpose, a schedule of radio broadcasts was created that were broadcast on two local radios, 27 neighborhood or village meetings-debates were held and two musical concerts and various film screenings were organized that have problematically addressed the migration issue, enhancing the permanence.
- Leadership training. It was aimed at 72 young people of both sexes belonging to the 18 youth associations. Educational modules were developed to strengthen leadership skills, internal governance structures, as well as technical and strategic skills.
- Formation and realization of cereal processing units. After a 5-day course aimed at 27 young people belonging to 9 associations (5 Senegalese and 4 Guinean), 9 rice processing centers were set up. Equipped with the necessary machinery to peel and bleach rice as well as to grind other cereals, they are also able to produce feed for the project’s poultry farms.
- Training and implementation of bio-intensive horticultural activities. This activity was reserved for young women from associations who already had land available for the cultivation of gardens; it was a question of moving from a classic cultivation system to bio-intensive cultivation, which provide for the maximization of the cultivated land in economic terms, but respecting agronomic and environmental sustainability. Within the 9 planned horticultural perimeters (5 in Senegal and 4 in Guinea Bissau) wells have been built, in order to make vegetable cultivation practicable almost all year round. The field activity was supported with the distribution of seeds, equipment and carts for access to markets. The methodology chosen for the training was that of the school camps, i.e. the 4 people trained for each association, for a total of 72 beneficiaries, had the task of disseminating the lessons learned to the other women who work in the same land.
- Training and start-up of poultry businesses. The training involved 4 young people for each association, for a total of 72 people, and lasted 10 days. The activity led to the construction of 9 chicken coops, 5 in Senegal and 4 in Guinea Bissau. The construction of the cages was carried out favoring local materials and local labor. The materials necessary for breeding (mangers, drinking troughs…) were distributed for each chicken coop. The chicken coop was divided into two parts, one for the breeding of fattening chickens and one for laying hens.
- Installation of 2 tomato processing units. It was about introducing a traditional line improved with solar energy. To this end, the project has trained 12 people, coming from two different Senegalese associations, in the tomato processing activity, using a production technique that recalls the existing one, but brings a substantial improvement in the cooking phase by introducing a solar dryer. The technology that has been supplied is therefore the following: manual pulverizer, torsion press with sheets, 5 kg capacity muffler, solar energy dryer. The two units were installed in rented premises given by the Municipality of Diaobé, near the city center, known for being one of the largest markets in Senegal and where the products will have no difficulty in being resold.